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Burns' college career in limbo after arrest
By FRANK PASTOR
Published May 21, 2005
DADE CITY - Former Pasco basketball player Deran Burns could lose his scholarship to Pensacola Junior College after he was arrested April 26, accused by Hernando sheriff's deputies of having sex with a minor.
According to the arrest affidavit, Burns, 18, had sexual intercourse with a girl between 12-15-years-old at her home in Hernando County on five occasions during a four-month period ending in April.
The girl's mother said she witnessed Burns and her daughter having sex in the family's garage on April 19, according to the affidavit. The name of the girl and her mother are being withheld because of the girl's age and nature of the accusations.
School resource officer Brian McDougal told deputies Burns approached him in his office April 20 and told him the sex was consensual, the arrest report stated. Burns posted $50,000 bail and was released. He is scheduled to be arraigned June 7 at the Hernando County Courthouse and prohibited from having contact with the girl, according to court documents.
Burns signed a letter of intent with PJC on Wednesday. The school learned of the arrest a day later and rescinded the offer until the matter is resolved, PJC coach Paul Swanson said.
"I hope it's not true," Swanson said. "If it is true, I feel sorry for the young lady who's involved and I feel sad for Deran if it's true. But if it's true, he will not be at PJC."
Swanson liked the athleticism and versatility Burns showed while leading Pasco to a 22-4 record and district title during his senior season. A 6-foot-3 forward, Burns averaged 20 points and 4.8 assists and was the only county player nominated for the 2005 McDonald's All-America team.
The arrest was not expected to prevent Burns from graduating with his class, said Robin Futch, assistant principal in charge of curriculum. A school counselor determined Burns earned the credits and grade point average needed to receive his diploma and nothing he did endangered the school, Futch said.
"You're dealing with kids, and we've all made mistakes," Futch said. "It's left up now to somebody else's hands. From that, he's going to have to make the best out of his life as he can thereafter and, hopefully, he can do that."
Athletic director Jim Ward, who spent time around Burns during football season, said he was surprised to hear about the arrest.
"My concern is if he's not able to go to college," Ward said. "That's what he spent four years in high school for, a chance to go play college basketball. I would hope whatever it is would be able to get worked out in such a way he'd still be able to go if he deserves to. If he did something wrong and there's a price to be paid, he definitely needs to do that, too."
Phone messages left at Burns' Lacoochee residence were not returned.